Freitag, 15. Juli 2011

How RIM BlackBerry works with loyal app developers

With the rise of iPhone and Android a lot of developers are thinking about, to do or not to do apps for RIM's BlackBerry and Playbook.
We at Shape used to love BlackBerry and ported our IM+ to BlackBerry as early as 2003.
A lot of nice and competent people are working at RIM (Research in Motion, NASDAQ: RIMM ). For instance, Tyler Lessard, Head of Developer Relations. But as a company RIM was never too friendly to developers. At least to developers of consumer oriented apps.

And now we feel really pissed off with RIM's behavior regarding our new app IM+ for Playbook.

This is the short chronology: 

On May 19th the first submission of IM+ for Playbook was sent to RIM.
We've got auto response from RIM  acknowledging the submission of a
new release.

Since we haven't heard from RIM back and the developer was working on
improving the app,
on June 2nd we have submitted an update and got second auto response
from RIM.

We have never heard from RIM about the status of IM+ for Playbook. There were numerous attempts from our team to reach people from App World.

After there has been some discussion on CrackBerry forums and other
BlackBerry related websites, some of guys have managed to get through
to RIM and received a response from BlackBerry representative denying
the submission. Below is an email:

RIM Incident number: INC000023319419

Hello Timothy ...,

I understand that you are inquiring about IM applications on the
PlayBook. Unfortunately, there is no complicated answer for this, it's
as simple as the developers for those IM applications have not created
one that is supported on the PlayBook as of yet. We have not heard of
any release dates for any IM applications yet. I'm sorry that I do not
have more information for you. But keep checking
for any new features available for the tablet. Sorry for the


BlackBerry Customer Support
Research In Motion Limited
Canada Toll Free: 1-877-644-8405
United States Toll Free: 1-877-644-8410
Puerto Rico Toll Free: 1-855-651-4936


We consider it a scandal.

Now it's obvious for us that RIM doesn't want IM+ for Playbook to exist. (We learned also, other developers of communication apps for Playbook are in a similar situation).
May be they see it as a threat to their BBM. This would be very anti-competitive behavior.
Or is it just a chaos in RIM house? For an underdog competing on tablet market with Apple this kind of cooperation with developers is not really promising.
No response from RIM so far. Even from Tyler Lessard.
Anyway at the moment our development for Playbook is on hold and the key IM+ for Playbook
developer is temporary switched to IM+ for Android.

Please think about it: in all the years we developed a lot of apps for BB: Alongside with IM+ and IM+ Talk these are Business Card Reader, RDM+, Mobiscope, Mobiola Web Camera and xPlayer, VR+, Photo Translator...
Now we invested several man-months into IM+ for Playbook. Just to find out how RIM breaches their own game rules and steals our time and money investment. Nice. This is a good lesson for every developer or small companies considering development for Blackberry or Playbook.

And this is my forecast: if RIM will continue with their snob behavior against loyal devs, their company will be acquired as soon as 2011 or first half of 2012 latest. This will be the end of independent BlackBerry devices. And perhaps a start of new Microsoft or Android powered BlackBerrys.


  1. I never felt confident with RIM. This behaviour is just the beginning of the end of RIM. We already saw the downfall of others like Palm devices and Symbian devices. So I'm sure that RIM will achive the status of being unimportant verry soon.

    Well done!!!!

  2. Let's calm down here people. Since the app was not yet approved one must understand that the customer service rep that replied to the inquiry was looking at the "current" approved apps and IM for Blackberry is not yet approved. This is a situation where the left and doesn't know what the right hand is doing but not because of chaos - one hand is following protocol and the other that must review and approve the apps has been overwhelmed as of late. We know that RIM has issued maintenance releases for the Playbook OS and it reasons that RIM is focusing on and putting massive manpower behind the fine tuning of the Playbook as well as the dev of a number of new devices AND OS7.

    As for RIM not being friendly to consumer oriented apps, that is silly as the app store is full of consumer oriented apps. That said, if it comes between a consumer oriented app vs. a business app - it would make sense to test the business app first since the BlackBerry is the business tool of choice for millions. BlackBerry's are Enterprise ready, tested and accepted AND can still play as hard as the competition. The competition is play toy only - no enterprise, no security and foo foo all the way.

    I suggest giving RIM the breathing room they need to complete their goals in a timely matter as if they are successful there will be many more new devices needing many more good apps - but understand RIM is at a critical juncture right now as they have many, many projects in the works. Again, they are, fine tuning the PlayBook, OS7, testing and getting to production a full line of new BlackBerry devices!

  3. As a developer for a cross-platform message app that includes a BlackBerry app, I can confirm similar behavior from RIM. We applied for access to their push framework, and were denied. Our support requests go unanswered. It really is shocking. If you'd like to discuss further please reach me andrew.k.cheung -at-